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4.4.3 Cost associated with the remediation program

The term ‘cost’ in this section is intended to cover the direct expenditure of funds associated with the remediation technology. This includes the costs for design, construction management, equipment, labour and materials to deploy the technology, licensing the technology, treatability studies, operations and maintenance, monitoring, and disposal of residual wastes. Standard engineering cost principles can be applied to develop cost estimates for remediation technologies [IAEA-2006b].

Cost data for a wide variety of remediation techniques are available from various sources. For example, the appendix of a recent IAEA report [IAEA-2002] provides an overview of remediation cost, drawing on national directories, such as the Historical Cost Assessment System (HCAS) in the USA [ECEC-2000] that provide useful material for relative cost assessments of the techniques listed.

Long term monitoring, surveillance and maintenance can be a major cost element. Depending on the time for which institutional control is required, provisions have to be made for funding these activities over periods of decades or even centuries.

In any comparison of technologies, discounted lifetime costs can also be determined for each option using nationally approved procedures, for example, discounted cash flow or net present value calculations, and discount rates. Consideration may also be given to different cash flow-time options, for example, uniform cash flows and low capital costs. The cost of remediation should be commensurate with the added level of protection afforded to the public by its implementation.

The costs associated with remediating a mixed contaminant site are likely to be higher than those for ‘simple’ sites due to the added complexity and multiple waste streams.